Amoeblog

New World Music Releases on LP!!!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 14, 2011 12:28am | Post a Comment


There has been an amazing amount of new World Music releases on LP over the last three months. It has become so overwhelming that I thought I’d better call attention to it. Whether you like reissues of obscure World Music albums, hits collections, compilations, or new music, we have plenty of recent arrivals for your turntable. Not only do we have lots of new releases, but at the Hollywood store we have plenty of used LPs and two rows of collector LPs on the wall just above the Country/Bluegrass section. Listed below are some of my favorite new releases, broken down by geographical regions. 




Africa:

La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 (plus download) - 
Na Hawa Doumbia
Danger - 
Lijadu Sisters
Wake Up Your Mind - 
Joni Haastrup
Give The Beggar A Chance & Dawn Of Awareness - 
Monomono
Jealousy/ No Discrimination / No Accommodation For Lagos  / Progress - 
Tony Allen
Bambara Mystic Soul – The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso 1974 to 1979 V/A
S/T El Rego
Obi Agye Me Dofo Vis-A-Vis




Latin America:

Revolucion Psicofasica En Bolivia 1969 to 1975
  - V/A
Dreaming - Sabrina Malheiros
Original Sound Of Cumbia – History Of Colombian Cumbia & Porro As Told By The Phonograph 1948 to 1979 – Compiled By Quantic -  V/A
Constelacion Los Destellos
Rhythms Of Black Peru V/A



Europe:

Roses Rouge Sang / Electro Rapide 
Jean Claude Vannier
Movimento Perpetuo / Guitarra Portuguesa Carlos Paredes



Asia/South Asia:

Beautiful Rivers And Mountains – The Psychedelic Rock Sound Of South Korea's Shin Joong Hyun 1958 to 1974 - Shin Joong Hyun
Nippon Guitars – Instrumental Surf, Eleki, & Tsugaru Rock 1966 to 1974 - Takeshi Terauchi
Bollywood Bloodbath – The B-Music Of The Indian Horror Film IndustryV/A
Life Is Dance – Plugged In Sounds Of Wonder At The Pakistani Picture House V/A



Middle East/Turkey/Afghanistan:

Hip 70s Afghan Beats Ahmad Zahir
Istanbul 70 – Psych, Disco, Folk Classics V/A
Mechul – Singles & Rarities Erkin Koray


  Can't make it to our store or find it at Amoeba.com? You could always use our mail order!

Obscure and Unrecognized South Asia & Indian Ocean

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 30, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment


South Asia
is the most populous and densely populated region in the planet's most populous continent. Not surprisingly, therefore, it's home to many culturally rich nationalities who still struggle in the post-Colonial world for recognition, equality and self-determination.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and North Asia.)

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Assam


Assamese dancers (photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

The earliest known settlers in Assam are believed to be the Khasi and Synteng people of southeast Asia. The were later marginalized by the arrival of the Tibeto-Burman language speaking Monpas, Sherdukpens, Bhutan, Mishings, Deuris and Bodo-Kachari. The last major wave of immigrants seems to have been the Hindus around 500 BCE, although small numbers of many other groups have arrived since. As such, Assam today is a highly hybridized place that nonetheless is struggling for autonomy.


Assamese Music
Ankiya Nat
(Onkeeya Naat) is a traditional Vaishnav musical theatre dating back to the 1400s. Borgeet are popular Vaishnav songs dating back from the same era. There's also a significant folk music tradition that shares many characteristics with Burmese, Chinese and Thai music and is a significant influence on the popular music of artists like Anima Choudhury, Bhupen Hazarika, Javanta Hazarika, Jitul Sonowal, Khagen Mahanta, Luit Konwar Rudra Baruah, Nirmalendu Choudhury, Parvati Prasad Baruva, Utpalendu Choudhury and Zubeen Garg.

*****


Balochistan


The Dravidian-speaking Brahui of Balochistan are thought to be a remnant of the Dravidian migration to India thousands of years earlier. After the area was ruled by several people, the Iranian Baloch people first settled the arid desert of Balochistan about 1,000 years ago after fleeing the Seljuq Turks. Today, Balochi are widely believed to have assimilated varying degrees of Arab, Greek and Turkish ancestry. Today Balochistan is a member of UNPO.


Music of Balochistan
The music of Balochistan incorporates various influences from Iran and Pakistan and includes Sepad, Shabtagi and Vazbad (various types of hymns), and melancholic Zayirak. Famous performers and composers include Ali Reza Askani, Aref Baloch, Asim Baloch, Bakshi Baloch, Saeed Borhanzahi, Shah Jaan Dawoodi and Abdul Sattar Baloch.

*****


Bangabhumi


Human rights activist and Hindu Bangladeshi Taslima Nasreen

The Hindu Republic of Bangabhumi declared independence from Bangladesh in 2003. The movement was founded in 1973 in India soon after Bangladeshi independence to support the Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, who were targeted by the Pakistani army in the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities.


Music of Hindus in Bangladesh
Many Hindus in Bangladesh have achieved fame either as musicians (Subir Nandi, Tapan Chowdhury, Shuvro Dev, Rathindranath Roy, Aroti Dhar and Shefali Gosh) or composers (Ajit Roy, Subal Das and Subhash Datta). However, with the dwindling, persecuted Hindu minority spread throughout the country, there's no reason to think all of these artists identify with Bangabhumi.

*****


Bodoland


Bodo dancers

The early history of Bodos is largely unknown. Cultural assimilation with Assamese was not productive. By the end of 70's it became clear that Bodos had a little or no influence in the Indian political process. The official Bodoland Movement[1] for an independent state of Bodoland started on March 2, 1987 under the leadership of Upendranath Brahma of the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU).


Music of Bodoland
The Bodos traditionally dance the Bagurumba. Their traditional music is played on local instruments including the Siphung, the Serja, the Tarkha, the Kham and the Khawang.

*****


Gilgit Baltistan


First mentioned by the Chinese in the 700s, according to the GBUM, the region enjoyed a brief period of independence between November 1, 1947, when the suzerainty of the Dogra rulers of the Kashmir princely state ceased to exist, and November 16, 1947, when the local inhabitants liberated their region and opted to join Pakistan. The territory is part of the larger disputed territory of Kashmir and has been in dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. On 29 August 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 was passed by the Pakistani cabinet and later signed by the President. They are a member of UNPO.


*****


Chagos Archipelago


The Chagos Archipelago is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands roughly in the centre of the Indian Ocean. The Chagossian people's ancestry is mostly of African heritage, particularly coming from Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius. There is also a significant proportion of Indian ancestry. The French brought them over as slaves from Mauritius in 1786. The Chagos were home to the Chagossians for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom and the United States expelled them in the 1960s in order to allow the US to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Many have fought for their right to return, only to be stymied by the British government.



*****


Chittagong Hill Tracts


The indigenous peoples, collectively known as the Jumma, include the Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tenchungya, Chak, Pankho, Mru, Murung, Bawm, Lushai, Khyang, Gurkha, Assam, Santal and Khumi. The early history of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is a record of constantly recurring raids on the part of the eastern hill tribes, and of the operations undertaken to repress them. The earliest mention of these raids is to be found in a letter from the Chief of Chittagong to Warren Hastings, the Governor-General, dated April 1777, in which he complains of the violence and aggressions of a mountaineer named Ramu Khan, the leader of a band of Kukis or Lushais. The Chittagong Hill Tracts, combining three hilly districts of Bangladesh, were once known as Korpos Mohol, the name used until 1860. In 1860 it was annexed by the British and was made an administrative district of Bangladesh and a member of UNPO.



*****

Dimasaland


Dimasa women sorting snails

In the Mahabharata there is mention of the foothill dwellers of the Great Himalayas called Kiratas, which some suspect is a reference to the Kacharis. One of the tribes of the Kacharis is the Dimasa.
Originally established in the Brahmaputra valley, the Dimasa resettled in Sadiya and Assam and established the Dimapur Kingdom in the thirteenth century. In 2009, after years of fighting to regain independence, the Dima Halim Daoga stopped fighting.


Music of the Dimasa
The traditional dance forms of the Dimasa Kacharis are largely instrumental and played on the khram (drum) and muri (a wind blown instrument).

*****


Garo

 

Garo musicians

The Garo are a people who call themselves A·chik Mande ("hill people"). They appeared in Meghalaya, according to tradition, from Tibet, around 400 BCE. Originally they settled in the valleys but other groups persecuted them until the headed for the hills. In 1872, the British army, armed with guns and cannons, subjugated the Garo, who relied on swords and spears in their attempted defense.

Music of Garo
There are several traditional musical forms among the Garo, including Nangorere, Serejing, Pandu Dolong. Instruments include Kakwa, Nanggilsi, Guridomik, Kamaljakmora, gongs, Rangkilding, Rangbong, Nogri, Adil, Singga, Sanai, Kal, Bolbijak, Illep (or Illip), Olongna, Tarabeng, Imbanggi, Akok (or Dakok), Bangsi rosi, Tilara or Taragaku, Bangsi mande, Otekra, Wa·pepe or Wa·pek, Dotrong, Sarenda, Chigring, Dimchrang (or Kimjim), Gongmima (or Gonggina), Am·beng Dama, Chisak Dama, Atong Dama, Garaganching Dama, Ruga and Chibok Dama, Dual-Matchi Dama, Nagra and the popular Kram... to name a few.
*****

Gondwana


(photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

Gondwana is homeland of the Gondi people. Numerous kingdoms were established there in the past, including in 1398, when Narsingh Rai, is said by Ferishta to have ruled all the hills of Gondwana. Between the 14th and the 18th centuries, three main Gond kingdoms flourished: Garha-Mandla, Deogarh-Nagpur and Chanda-Sirpur. They were conquered by the Maratha and subsequently, the British and now, India. The Gondi's main voice of change is the Gondwana Ganatantra Party, founded in 1991 in Madhya Pradesh.

*****


Gorkhaland


Gurkha dancers

The Nepali-speaking Gurkha claim descent from the Hindu Rajputs of Northern India, who entered modern Nepal from the west. They were long used, after the subjugation of South Asia, by the British to do their military dirty work. Since 2007, some of the Nepali-speaking Gurkha (led by  Bimal Gurung) have struggled for independence. The political arm of the movement is Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM).



*****


Jharkhand

During the Mughal period, Jharkhand was known as Kukara. The principle peoples of Kukara were the Asur, Baiga, Banjara, Bathudi, Bedia, Binjhia, Birhor, Birjia, Chero, Chick-Baraik, Gond, Gorait, Ho, Karmali, Kharia, Kharwar, Khond, Kisan, Kora, Korwa, Lohra, Mahli, Mal-Paharia, Munda, Oraon, Parhaiya, Santal, Sauria-Paharia, Savar, Bhumij, Kol and Kanwar. In 1765 it was conquered by the British and renamed Jharkhand. Revolts against the colonizer were common until 1900. Finally, in 2000, the disenchanted Jharkhandi were given a modicum of recognition.


Music of Jharkhand
I'm sure there's an indigenous musical tradition in Jharkhand but it seems that Jhumar, a dance/music form from Balochistan, is the most popular.

*****


Kashmir


In the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose, replacing the previously popular Buddhism and Hinduism. In 1349, Shah Mir introduced Islam to the region. Muslims ruled until 1751 until they were toppled by the Afghan Durrani Empire, whose reign ended when Ranjit Singh conquered it for the Sikhs. Today, it's still hotly contested by rival parties including India, China and Pakistan.


Music of Kashmir
The traditional music of Kashmir reflects its cultural and geographic location at the crossroads of Central, East and South Asia. Chakri is one of the most popular forms. Sufiana Kalam is the local classical form, having arrived from Persia in the 1400s.

*****
Kamatapur


Kamatapur is the ancient name of the Koch-ruled kingdom, whose lands included parts of Assam, Biher, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The Kamatapuri have claimed persecution at the hands of India and Kamtapur Peoples Party (KPP) was founded in January 1996 by Atul Roy.

*****


Karbi-Anglong


The Karbis are a people who speak a Tibeto-Burman language and who were among the first to settle the hills of Assam long ago. Karbi Anglong is currently an autonomous state within Assam although some residents are campaigning for full independence.

 

*****


Khālistān


Khālistān is a proposed Punjabi Sikh state, meant to revive the Sikh Empire of the 1700s. The movement to establish the nation peaked in 1970s and 1980s and has since grown much quieter.


Well known Punjabi Sikh performers include Kuldeep Manak, Daler Mehndi, Jaspinder Narula, Shingara Singh and Sukhbir.

Scimitars and Sand Dunes - Rethinking the Middle East, Arabs and Islam

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 6, 2009 10:41pm | Post a Comment
With President Obama's recent address at the University of Cairo, there has been a veritable sandstorm of media discussion about the Middle East, the Arab world and the Islamic world; three concepts lazily interchanged in the American mainstream media (including the supposedly smarter public radio). Despite some overlap, the indiscriminate use of the terms, both out of ignorance and deliberately,  minimizes substantial heterogeneity and differences -- to the detriment of our understanding of reality, and as a result contributing to the undermining and hindering of attempts at peace in the region. While I did find the president's speech fairly nuanced, intelligent and inspirational, until substantial actions reflect those attractive words, they offer nothing more than hope.



"Neighbour to the Moon," the legendary Christian Lebanese singer, فيروز.

Today Arabs, Muslims and Middle Easterners remain some of the last people in the west for whom racism is not only extremely common but also widely accepted, even governmentally endorsed. Merely advocating equality and human rights for Arabs and Muslims is often met with charges of racism and embracing hatred, probably the only people likely to ellicit that response besides Germans. Given this reality, centuries of negative stereotypes and repeated military and political actions that reflect undeniable double standards, it's no wonder that many view the frequent proclamations that "Islam is a beautiful religion" and hands extended in friendship with widespread suspicion at best.



The Arab world
Arabs trace their ancestry back to the Semitic tribes of the Arabian peninsula and the Syrian desert. Like many immigrant populations, Arabs are often viewed as so indelibly tied to their ancestral homeland that they are seen as perpetual foreigners; their allegiances are often questioned entirely on the basis of their ancestry. Today, not surprsingly, many Arabs make their homes around the world beyond the Middle East. The widespread hostility they are treated with is obvious not only in hate crimes, but larger political action, after both the Oklahoma City bombing and the Anthrax scare prompted calls to military response against someone, anyone in the middle east. Let's just drop some bombs over there and be done with it.


The "Arabian Elvis"... عبدالحليم إسماعيل شبانة

Arab in the non-genetic sense
Furthering the confusion is the use of Arab to describe anyone who speaks Arabic (similar to the way Amish call non-Amish Americans "English" or American-based Spanish Language TV stations are referred to as "Mexican."). Although many Berbers, Lebanese and Palestinians have some Arabic ancestry, it makes up a small portion of their genetics, even though they often self-identify as Arabs based on culture and language.

Syrian-born, half-Lebanese, Druze musical genius فريد الأطرش

Arab n. Bad guys in the Middle East
Just as the definition of the Middle East seems to expand in an effort to encompass the Muslim world, the term Arab grows too, as with the Darfur War, which is usually characterized as a genocide perpetrated by Arabs, despite the fact that the attackers are themselves black Africans. Arab is, therefore, understood to mean "bad guy" and they're one of the few people in the world who're never allowed to be portrayed as victims. Even when occupied, oppressed and living as second class citizens under apartheid, there's an understanding that they had it coming, being Arabs. Another example is the media and American culture's disproportionate attention toward Buddhist Tibet and almost complete silence regarding its neighbor to the north, mostly Muslim East Turkestan, despite their parallel situations.


The Islamic world

The Islamic World is usually mischaracterized as being roughly synonymous with the Middle East. Although most Arabs practice Islam, there are large numbers of Christians and Druze. But, in the minds of most, Arabs and Muslims are synonyms. When I caught a local news story about the secular-Marxist Palestinian organization, the PFLP (founded by an atheist from a Christian background), the newscaster referred to them as "radical Islamists," apparently incapable of thinking that the motivation for self governance could be motivated by anything other than fanatical devotion to God.


Islam outside the Middle East
Even more notably, the countries with the largest populations of Muslims are almost all located outside the traditional middle east. In descending order of population size they are Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Morocco and Algeria... none of which are in the Arabian peninsula. Of the biggest Islamic populations, only Egypt and Algeria are Arabic to a substantial degree.



The Middle East
The Middle East itself is a hazily defined region in Asia with no universally-agreed upon boundaries but always including Arabia, Egypt, the Levant and Mesopotamia... but sometimes including parts of Eastern Europe, Anatolia, North Africa, Central Asia and South Asia. It seems to grow the more people become aware of the dominance of Islam outside of regions traditionally thought of as the Middle East. Nonetheless, it's often discussed like it's its own continent, with static borders and completely exclusive from the rest of Asia. Yes, Jesus and Mohammed were Asian in that sense. Put that in your shisha and smoke it.



The Middle East exists in the collective Western consciousness as a vast, homogenous region full of harems full of belly dancers presided over by oil barons, insane suicide bombers, sneaky (but inept) sheiks and genies. Everyone (except Israelis) is both Arabic and Muslim. Of course, in reality, Middle Easterners practice just as many faiths as anyone else. Most Assyrians, Bilen, Georgians, Armenians and a large percentage of Lebanese are, in fact, Christian. (Yes, I know few people consider Georgia and Armenia to be in the Middle East, but there are large numbers of Armenians and Geogians living in countries that are.)

Non-Muslim/non-Jewish Middle Easterners


                    Druze                                                    Zoroastrians Samaritans

It's also worth pointing out that not only did Christianity, Islam and Judaism come out of the Middle East, so did Druze, Zoroastrianism, Bahá'í, Samaritanism, Yazdânism and Sikhism (if your personal definition of the Middle East includes Punjab).

Non-Arabic/non-Jewish Indigenous Middle Easterners


       Afar woman                        Assyrian boy                                                   Azeri boys


                                        Beja                                                         Chaoui women              Hederab woman



                                 Berber Woman                                               Nara woman                 Nubian woman


    Pamiri woman                     Pashtun mother and child                                        Persian girls



                Rashaida couple                                   Saho Woman                               Talysh girls


   Tigre Woman                             Tigrinya                                                               Tuareg homies


         Turkish women                                               Turkmen musicians

What's even less known is that there are large numbers of non-Arabic/non-Jewish people indigenous to the Middle East, each with their own traditions, music and culture including both the examples above and non-pictured people like the Abkhaz, Bakhtiaris, Baloch, Bilen, Danagla, Dom, Gilakis, Haratin, Hausa, Ja'Alin, Kabyle, Kurds, Laks, Lurs, Mazandaranis, Mozabites, Shaigiya, Teoubou and Zazas (to name a few).

Young Afghans

Hollywood and the media's perpetuation of the faceless Middle East
With most of our impressions of the middle east coming from the media and Hollywood, it's not surprising how ignorant most westerners are about the Middle East. When Afghans (neither Arabic nor Middle Eastern by standard definitions) laughed at the idea of an Arabs like Osama bin Laden effortlessly blending into their population unnoticed, most American scratched their heads in confusion. How can they tell themselves apart? Of course, as part of the campaign to make our military opponents faceless, images of Afghans are extremely rare in the media. If we assume that all Middle Easterners are the same, we can just punish whichever ones we can get at most easily instead of pursuing the actual perps. When the World Trade Center came down due to the Afghan Taliban and al qaeda, the natural response was to shock and awe the Iraqi people, despite the fact that there were no Iraqis involved. It's the same kind of thinking that led people to deaths of Balbir Singh Sodhi, Adel Karas (neither of whom were even Muslims) and other brown skinned people in the days following the attack on 9/11.

Palestinian Children

Sometimes it's even more overtly politically motivated, as with arguments that suggest that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people and that the word didn't even appear until the 1948 invasion. This despite the fact that the Greeks wrote of Palaistinê (Παλαιστίνη) several millenia ago... and demands for an independent Palestine issued by the Syrian-Palestinian congress in 1921. All of this negative stereotyping, even when conciously recognized and rejected, can end up poisoning our subconscious. Test yourself here to test your own biases toward Arabs, Muslims and other people. And if you want to watch some Hollywood depictions of Arabs, Middle Easterners and Muslims, check out any of the following:

The Sheik (1921), A Son of the Sahara (1924), A Song of Love (1923), The Son of the Sheik (1926), A Café in Cairo (1924), The Desert Bride (1928), The Wind and the Lion (1975), Arab Conspiracy (1976),  Black Sunday (1977), Raid on Entebbe (1977), Midnight Express (1978), The Black Stallion (1979), Back to the Future (1985), Iron Eagle (1986), Death Before Dishonor (1987), Wanted: Dead or Alive (1987), Dadah is Death (1988), Navy SEALs (1990), Not Without My Daughter (1990), The Delta Force (1991), True Lies (1994), Executive Decision (1996), Return to Paradise (1998), Rules of Engagement (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001).

 

Continue reading...

Unrecognized Caucasia and neighboring regions

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 20, 2008 05:16pm | Post a Comment
The current situation in the Caucasus prompted one of the loyal blog readers to request that I post about the confusing region and shed a little light. If you blog readers have any requests for blog topics, I always welcome them.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Eastern Europe, North Asia and South Asia.)

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Caucasia
is a mountainous region located between the two continents of Europe and Asia. While it's not the Nazi-imagined homeland (a concept invented by 18th century craniologists) to the blond & blue-eyed, it is home to some of the oldest human populations in the world as well as the birthplace of wine. It's also one of the most culturally varied regions in the world, where tiny populations of little-known peoples have somehow existed between some of the biggest, baddest imperialists of world history. Perhaps it's not surprising then that they seem or persevere by clinging tightly to cultural expressions like music and dance, as well as deeply-embedded xenophobia, mistrust, mutual hostility and self-preservatory instincts.

Just to name a few, in this tiny global neighborhood you've got Abazins, Abkazians, Adjarians, Adydhe, Aguls, Archins, Armenians, Avars, Azerbaijanis, Balkars, Bats, Chechens, Cherkes, Cossacks, Dargins, Georgians, Greeks, Ingush, Kabardins, Kalmyks, Karachays, Khinalug, Kists, Kumyks, Kurds, Laks, Laz, Lezgins, Mingrelians, Mountain Jews, Nakh, Nogais, Ossetians, Rutls, Svans, Tabasarans, Talysh, Tats, Trukhmens, Tsakhurs, Ubykh and Udins... my apologies if I've forgotten anyone... also my producer, my wife and so forth. I just know I'm forgetting someone!



In the Greek religion, the Kaukasos (Caucasia) was where one of the pillars supporting the planet was found. It's also where Prometheus was chained by Zeus, having one of his organs picked at by a buzzard, if memory serves...just because someone duped Prometheus by slyly asking for "a light." Because of that, it was considered by the Greeks to be sort of like hell for Titans.

           Jason and the Argonauts

They also thought it was a place populated by magical and barbaric women. It's also where Jason met Medea in a story perhaps constructed to give a taste of Caucasian women's famous ferocity. When he left her for another woman, Medea killed the girl, her dad, and the two kids she'd had with Jason. I'm on her side. Get it how you live it.

Continue reading...

North Asia

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2008 07:53pm | Post a Comment


While trying to beat the heat, I often think of what far-off cold places I'd like to go before the world turns to desert. North Asia is high on my list for sheer obscurity. Even the designation "north Asia" sounds like something that never gets said. I think that my first awareness of North Asia as a place came with playing Risk (aka La Conquête du Monde) when my conquering cavalry rode triumphantly into Yakutsk, Irkutsk and Kamchatka. It's expensive to fly there, they almost all love throat-singing, the curiously named Jew's Harp and occasionally stumble across frozen mega-fauna. Beyond that, I know more about the member Planets of the Federation than the little-known nations of North Asia... (in Ying Yang Twins voice) at least til now.
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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and South Asia.)

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The Altay (also known as Altai or Altayans ) people are a nomadic Turkic people who've settled in the Altai Republic (and neighboring Altai Krai).

 

According to the website waytorussia.net:

Alexey respects Altay people, but he thinks that they are quite weak. Actually, it is true — a lot of people at Altay, especially men, are alcoholics. When the Cossacks were exploring this region a few hundred years ago, they brought with them the "fire water" -- vodka -- and local people got addicted to it. They don't have any immunity against alcohol, so they become drunk very fast. Often, there are problems related to it, like bullying and trying to get money from travelers. However, it's not something too common. However, generally, Altay people are very kind and sincere. They have a great respect for older generations and for their culture.

The Altay came into contact with Russia in the 1700s. At that time they were a nomadic people who lived primarily through hunting & trapping and tending to sheep, cattle and goats. While many Altay have adopted Orthodox Christianity, some practice Ak Jang (or Burkhanism). The name means "White Faith," which refers to both its emphasis on the Upper World and its use of horse milk alcohol as an offering instead of animal sacrifice.


Bashkirs live in the Republic of Bashkortostan. Their earliest mention in writing comes from Arab writer Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rašīd ibn Hammād, who described the nomads as warlike and idolatrous. According to him, they worshiped phallic idols. They also raised cattle and practiced bee-keeping. Now they are mostly Sunni Muslim. After being ruled by Russia since 1921, they declared their sovereignty in 1990 and became a member of UNPO in 1996. They like braids.



    

Buryats
live in the Buryat Republic. They're nomadic and their earliest literary mention of them comes in the Mongolian (Secret History of the Mongolians, 1240). Originally Shamanic, most are now Bhuddist or Orthodox Christian. The French actor, Valéry Inkijinoff (star of Storm Over Asia) was Russian-Buryat, as is Irina Pantaeva (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) (pictured above).



The majority of Chukchi live in Chukotka. Their name comes from the Chukchi word Chauchu, which means "rich in reindeer." Coastal Chukchi also hunt sea mammals who sometimes are referred to as
Anqallyt which means "sea people." Their religion is animistic within a dualistic cosmology. Traditionally, Chukchi travelers would have "partner families," which is a polite way of saying that Chukchi were swingers of sorts, with women giving birth sometimes to partner family's patriarchs.



Most Dolgans live in Talmyria, on the Arctic Coast. Their homes are tiny, wooden structures called baloks. They mostly subsist on reindeer and salted fish. The temperature gets down to 71 below zero- Celsius!



The People of Evenkia have several self-designations, including Evenk, Orochen (inhabitant of the river Oro) or Orochon (rearers of reindeer). They are the most populous North Asian people and they live in China as well as their homeland.



The Republic of Khakassia is home to the Khakas. Previously, the land was home to the Kyrgyz but most migrated to Kyrgyzstan after being crushed by the Mongol Horde. Khakas regard themselves as descendants of the few Kyrgyz who stayed behind and number only about 65,000. Their principle industry are mining and timber harvesting.

 

Nenetsia is situated in the far north, along the Arctic Ocean. The Nenets live in tundra and taiga and they have been the focus of several films, including 7 Songs From the Tundra, and Jumalan morsian.
They found a really well preserved mammoth there a few years ago (see below).





The Sakha Republic is an enormous nation in North Asia and home to the Sakha people. Due to it's size, the lifestyles of the people vary depending on where they live. In the northern tundra, occupations include breeding yak, breeding reindeer, hunting and fishing. In the southern taiga, people raise horses and cattle. Originally, the Sakha homelands were centered in Olkhon, an island on Lake Baikal. They migrated north in the 1100s. Russians began arriving in the 1600s. Tygyn, a Sakha king, entered a pact with Russia, granting them land in exchange for military cooperation in crushing their North Asian neighbors. When gold was discovered in their new home, Russians came in search of wealth, resulting in conflict between the two peoples. The Russians got the upper hand and Stalin killed thousands of Sakha.



Interested in traveling to Sakah, but unwilling to eat meat unless absolutely necessary? I'm pleased to report that there is a restaurant which offers vegetarian food and alcohol in the capital of Yakutsk.

Fyodor Okhlopkov became a famed sniper in the red army.



Mountainous, forested and foggy Sakhalin is a large island north of Japan and home to the indigenous Ainu (in the south), Nivkhs (in the north) and Ul'ta (in the middle). In 1616, the Chinese sent 400 troops who later returned, reporting there was no threat posed by the inhabitants. In 1679, Japan sent people there with plans to colonize that never went anywhere. In 1857, Russia established a penal colony there. All three occupiers have made claims on Sakhalin, often at the same time. There is a sizable number of Koreans who were brought there as slaves by the Japanese.



The Ainu were the aborigines of Japan, before being limited to Hokkaido and southern Sakhalin. Traditionally they made their clothing from the inner fibers of tree bark. Their traditional appearance is strikingly different from most of their neighbors, with their fondness for earrings, massive beards and mouth tattoos.

    



The Nivkhs traditionally fished, hunted and raised dogs. They moved to the island when it was still connected by a land bridge. When the waters rose, they were cut off from the mainland. Dr. Chuner Mikhailovich Taksami is a well-known Nikvh advocate for rights and recognition.

The Ul'ta are known to their neighbors as Oroks. The name seems to come from their term "oro" meaning "domestic reindeer."



Tyva Republic
(or Tuva) is located in the dead center of Asia, but for political reasons is still identified with North Asia. The people were known as the Uriankhai ("Forest People") to the Mongolians. For thousands of years they herded reindeer, yaks, goats, sheep, camels and cattle. The Chinese wrote of a people they referred to as the Dubo in 200 A.D. who were probably Tuvans (or Tuvinians, as they're also known). In the 6th century, the Altaic Göktürks established a large empire over the silk road and conquered the pastoral Tuvans. In the 8th Century, the Uyghurs took over and built fortresses which still survive. In 840, the Uyghurs were run out by the Kyrgyz. In 1207, Oirat prince Kuduku-Beki led the Mongols into the region.



Out of the Tuvan people, Genghis Khan took the teenage Subutai, who became a general and his primary strategist. Today he is best remembered for decimating the Polish and Hungarian armies within two days of one another. Later the Oirats took over and made the Tuvans subjects of Dzungar.

Today, the Tuvans practice a blend of Tengriism (a Shamanic Turkic religion) and Tibetan Bhuddism. When Paul Pena, an American, made the documentary Genghis Blues about his travels to Tuva, the Tuvan people suddenly became well known on the world music scene for their throat singing. Although throatsinging is widespread across North Asia and the far North of North America, for most, throat singing is synonymous with Tuva.

So there you have it, a glimpse into the one of the most obscure necks of the woods. Turns out it doesn't all look cold, all of the time. Anyway, if you're still curious about North Asia and want to learn about other nations, look-up:

(Far North)
Aleuts, Besermyans, Alyutors, Chuvans, Enets, Eskimo, Itelmens, Kamchadals, Kereks, Koryaks, Nganasan

(Central North Asia)
Chulyms, Evens, Kets, Khants, Mansi, Nağaybäk, Selkups, Teleuts

(Eastern North Asia)
Ainu, Nanais, Negidals, Nivks, Orochs, Oroks, Tazs, Udege, Ulchs, Yukaghir

(Southern North Asia)
Kumadins, Chelkans, Shorians, Soyots, Telengits, Tofalars, Tubalars,






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